Being signed as the new United top striker already comes with immense pressure but the circumstances of Hojlund&aposs signing are even more so. The Dane arrived at a time when United haven&apost need a quality striker to guarantee goals more.
Erik ten Hag&aposs side struggled to score last season and that was even when Marcus Rashford was on top form. Who did United burden with the task of delivering those goals? A 20-year-old kid with a lot of potential but only nine goals in Serie A. Oh, and they committed to pay upwards of 72million for him. A staggering amount for such an unproven prospect.
That sort of price tag has worn heavy on many a footballer – look at half of the United squad – and expectations of that fee are not yet being reached. To add to all that, Harry Kane finally left Tottenham this summer and United didn&apost even attempt to sign the player who was supposedly their top target.
Kane, predictably, has enjoyed a sensational start at Bayern Munich, where he has already racked up a record 15 goals in his first 10 Bundesliga matches. In contrast, Hojlund is yet to even score in the Premier League.
It&aposs not a completely fair reflection of the striker&aposs start to life in Manchester. Hojlund has been thrown into a team lacking confidence or cohesion and has at least shown a lot of promise. His pace, strength and touch in the final third have been promising, especially in the defeat to Galatasaray.
Yet, he was brought in to score goals and he simply has not delivered enough of them yet. It&aposs not all his fault given the service into him is often non-existent but he needs to be doing more.
Daniel Sturridge analysed Hojlund&aposs early showings on Monday Night Football and believes developing his relationship with Bruno Fernandes will be key for an upturn in fortunes. “I do think that he (Hojlund) has got great potential,” he said on Sky Sports.
“I think he does make good runs, but I just think that hes not getting as many opportunities as he would like. Of course, youve got (Marcus) Rashford playing on the left side and rightfully so, he should be shooting from that area because thats what he is known for and he has been scoring goals.
“You think here at this moment, if he (Hojlund) had a relationship with Bruno (Fernandes) and they are going to build that relationship over time, maybe he plays that ball in behind. Hes made that run off the defender, hes looked over his left and he is on the right shoulder, and clearly the ball across the box isnt great and it would have had to have been a perfect cross to be a goal. I dont think he can do much there.
“Over time, it will change. He has to have those conversations and tell them what he likes. We know Rashy has the ability to manipulate the ball and score goals, we know Bruno Fernandes has the ability to score long shots, but hes got to have these conversations about this is what I like and with the ball up here, I am going to make this run and feed me in.
“The manager has got his system too, so he is going to have the ideas of how he wants the team to progress up the football pitch. In the end, hes a project and hes not the perfect striker yet. Hes not the finished article just yet, but when he gets these opportunities, he is trying very hard, he wants to score goals and be in the positions to score goals.